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Houston’s Restaurant Shakeup: The Openings, Closings and Future Hotspots You Need to Know

BY // 03.18.17

The Houston restaurant scene is constantly changing, with new hotspots, tough-luck closings, must-try places, and major culinary events. Even the most dedicated foodie can have trouble keeping up, but don’t worry, PaperCity has you covered.

Former Brasserie 19 general manager Shawn Virene will debut his first solo concept, a’Bouzy, this summer at 2300 Westheimer Road (formerly Harwood Grill and 60 Degrees Mastercrafted.) Champagne takes center stage at the future restaurant. More than 150 varieties will complement an American menu of seasonal seafood, local greens, prime meat, and an expansive raw bar.

Master sommelier David Keck (formerly Camerata at Paulie’s) abandons wine for his newest project — a Houston honky tonk coined Goodnight Charlie’s, which he’ll open with partner Peter McCarthy at 2531 Kuester Street. Live country, bluegrass, and Zydeco music will be accompanied by Texas beers, simple cocktails, and a modest Mexican-centric menu created by local chef and reality TV Master Chef contestant Alvin Schutz. Goodnight Charlie’s is slated to open this fall.

Ireland native Ian Tucker brings his culinary chops to Houston with two new dining concepts set to open this year — the first, a burger and beer joint named Balls Out Burger, which will open this Spring at 1603 North Durham Drive. Tucker’s posh cocktail bar and restaurant Poitín will follow with a fall opening at Sawyer Yards.

Restaurateur Lee Ellis launches his sixth concept under the Cherry Pie Hospitality umbrella at the end of the month. Starfish, a new seafood-centric eatery, will debut at 191 Heights Boulevard (formerly Bradley’s Fine Diner) next door to fellow CP restaurant Pi Pizza. Chef Armando Ramirez will lead the kitchen, which features a wood-fired grill and raw bar.

Hakkasan Group’s Michelin-starred Chinese dim sum concept Yauatcha opens Wednesday, March 29 at The Galleria neighboring Miami-based boutique The Webster. The upscale teahouse and patisserie marks the restaurant’s second U.S. location, following its recently opened Waikiki outpost.

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Hawaii-based Agu Ramen will open three new locations this March and April, joining Agu’s three existing locations which debuted last year. The forthcoming Sugar Land (2130 Lone Star Drive) and Katy (514 So Mason Road) locations are slated to open by the end of the month, while Agu’s Nassau Bay location at 1360 NASA Parkway will open in early April.

The trio of Marco Silvestrini, his sister Francesca, and her fiance Leopoldo Ferrarese have debuted their beloved Austin gelato shop Dolce Neve at 4721 North Main Street next to coffee and donut emporium Morningstar. Expect Dolce Neve’s signature creamy confections, which are fashioned with local Texas ingredients, featuring flavors like rum and raisins, honey bee pollen, vegan golden milk (a mix of coconut milk, turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, and black peppercorn), and grapefruit.

The team behind South African restaurant Peli Peli will soon open a petite take on it’s newly opened fast-casual concept Peli Peli Kitchen. The new outpost, coined Peli Deli, officially launches Monday, March 27 on the first level of the Esperson Building Downtown at 808 Travis Street and will feature condensed PPK breakfast and lunch menus as well as Katz Coffee, craft beer, and South African wine.

After years of speculation, cult-favorite In-N-Out Burger will finally open its first Houston restaurant. While an opening timeline has yet to be revealed, the California-based burger chain has secured several plots of Houston real estate in preparation

Sporting a $15 million renovation, the newly debuted Levy Park tapped Fort Worth-based celebrity chef Tim Love to unveil three restaurant concepts throughout the park this year — Woodshed, a sit-down eatery dedicated to all things smoke; Love Bird, a petite kiosk specializing in smoked chicken and seasonal sides fashioned from the parks community gardens; and a soon-to-be-named biergarten bus. Expect the first concept to debut this summer

West Houston’s CityCentre welcomes Zayed’s Mediterannean Grill to its extensive restaurant options. This marks the first location for the brand, which specializes in grilled meats and fresh vegetables.

Local chef Ben McPherson is putting his unique spin on the classic chicken sandwich with Krisp Bird & Batter, now open at 5922 Richmond Avenue. Krisp’s whimsical chicken sandwich renditions utilize pasture-raised chickens, GMO-free house-made bread, and locally sourced produce. Krisp is also slated to open a second location later this year at 2400 North Shepherd Drive.

Former Liberty Kitchen executive chef Travis Lenig has unveiled his first proprietary concept Field & Tides at 705 East 11th Street with partner and former Liberty Kitchen director of operations Christopher Ramirez. A diverse menu of everything from pimento cheese fritters to duck confit with corn pudding awaits.

The Southwest at Krisp Bird & Batter

Southern Goods’ Charles Bishop has teamed up with former Pax Americana chef Adam Dorris for the newly opened Presidio in the Heights at 911 West 11th Street. The Texas food hall touts bites such as smoked lamb pastrami, braised goat empanadas, and harissa hushpuppies alongside a bevy of beers, wines, and cocktails.

Chinese-American restaurant Café Ginger is relocating from its River Oaks Shopping Center digs to 1572 West Gray St (formerly Verts Mediterranean Grill). The move is expected to be completed by 2018. The restaurant has also expanded to The Galleria for its newly opened second location at 2200 Post Oak Boulevard (the former home of Oka Sushi).

Ogun Art + Wine is now open in The Shops at Memorial Heights at 920 Studemont Street (formerly Absolve Wine Lounge). The intimate wine bar owned by Laolu Davies, presents a unique experience, doubling as an art gallery. Patrons can indulge in premier South African wines and small plates, while admiring an array of art pieces — mostly of African origins — accompanied by live music.

Acclaimed chef Chris Shepherd and partners Kevin Floyd, Steve Flippo, and Houston Texans linebacker Whitney Mercilus have unveiled One/Fifth Steak in the former Mark’s Cuisine space at 1658 Westheimer Road. The upscale steak restaurant, which will change concepts each year for the next five years, touts an expansive menu of standouts including glazed beef necks, sea urchin panna cotta, and chicken liver mousse bloc terrine. The building is set to morph into One/Fifth Romance Languages — an experience in French, Spanish, and Italian cuisine — on September 1.

Newport Beach-based Bosscat Kitchen and Libations is now open at 4310 Westheimer Road. Wedged between Eloise Nichols Grill & Liquors and Tenenbaum Jewelers’ new location, the whiskey-centric eatery features an expansive menu of American comfort food as well as sprawling whiskey lockers for high-rollers.

Master Chef of France Phillipe Verpiand’s (Etoile) second concept Brasserie du Parc is now open at 1440 Lamar Street. Attached to the One Park Place high-rise, the casual French eatery features everything from steak frites to croque monsieur, and even touts a walk-up crepe window

Eloise Nichols Grill & Liquors launches its first Sunday Supper Series, which features a rotating family meal each Sunday. Up first, buttermilk fried chicken alongside two buttermilk biscuits, two sides, and house pickles.

Master Chef Season 4 champion Lucas Manfe is moving his Italian-inspired food truck Lucky Fig to Dallas this spring.

After less than one year in business, Little Liberty has closed up shop in Rice Village. Mediterranean restaurant Island Grill will take its 2365 Rice Boulevard address. Also shuttering before its first anniversary is Heights eatery Arthur Ave at 1111 Studewood Street, an upscale Italian concept from the Helen Greek Food and Wine team. A second iteration of Helen — Helen in the Heights — will take over the space later this year.

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